After a Christmas dampened by the note ban, residents are likely to prefer partying at home on New Year’s Eve too. Pub/bar owners say there has been a decline in bookings for events on December 31 night compared to the previous years.
The business of city bars and pubs were hit during Christmas though almost 50 days had passed since the withdrawal of ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes from circulation. Owners of these establishments said party hoppers preferred to pool money and celebrated at homes instead of booking pubs/bars.
The sales at Ignite Disc, a night club in Sahara Mall on MG road, declined by 40% since demonetisation, forcing the cancellation of events on New Year’s Eve.
“Payment to the DJ, staff who serve the food and beverages, security personnel and bouncers and other workers has been a difficulty as most of them accept only cash. In addition, taking into account the sales since demonetisation, organising any special event is pointless. Ignite Disc will not be organising anything special for New Year’s Eve and will offer regular service,” Vijay Pal, the owner, said.
Each year on December 31, the Vapour Pub & Brewery at Megacity Mall on MG Road hosts a ‘fiesta festival’ that includes a live performance by a disc jockey (DJ) and a dhol player. This year, officials have gone ahead with the festival but claim there has been a significant decline in bookings.
“Since demonetisation, our daily sales have declined by 20% and the same continues for the New Year’s bookings. We haven’t altered our couple entry rates from last year’s event and the price remains at ₹3000 per couple. So far, we have received over fifty entries for the event, but around the same time last year, the entries were nearly double,” Vikram Rana, owner and director of the pub, said.
Gurgaon has 352 drinking joints such as pubs, bars and ahatas (authorized drinking places abutting liquor vends) and 175 liquor vends.
An information technology professional and micro entrepreneur, Jaggi Kumar, who likes partying at one of the pubs/bars at the mall-mile on the New Year’s Eve, would limit his celebrations to a party at a friend’s place in Malibu Towne.
“All my friends have decided not to spend lavishly at pubs or bars and, instead, buy liquor and other stuff, and party at home,” he said.
The impact of demonetisation is also visible in the case of residents who would earlier apply for one-day liquor serving permits with the excise department and party at private spots such as farmhouses. The excise and taxation department issuing these permits for a one-time fee ₹10,000 has received a cold response from this segment this year.
According to department sources, the number of applicants for one-day permit are likely to be much less than what it was last year. As many as 700 permits were issued last year.
Aruna Singh, the deputy excise and taxation commissioner (DETC), said number of applicants would go up in the last three days of the year. “I would be able to compare the figures only after December 31 when I get the total number of applications for one-day permits,” Singh said.
(With inputs from Kartik Kumar)
In the current fiscal 2016-17:
•Total number of pubs and bars in the city are 285.
•The number of Ahatas (authorized drinking places attached to IMFL liquor vends) are 67
•There are total 323 liquor vends and shops. Of total, 175 are for Indian-made foreign liquor and 148 for country liquor
•Operating hours Liquor Vends and bars: 9.00am to 12.00 midnight but some manage to run amuck and continue serving liquor till 2-3am
•Number of one-day permit to serve liquor at private/public places likely to come down this year because of demonetization